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india-wedding-guide

Thousands of years of tradition lie waiting to be discovered in India. From the bustling cities of Mumbai and Delhi to rural temples and exotic beaches, India is an exemplary location for a destination wedding.

The immense diversity of India opens limitless possibilities for both you and your guests during this special time. Immerse yourselves in the beauty of tradition and spirituality. India caters to everyone.

Fact File Highlights
Weather & Climate Culture & Etiquette
Food & Drink Money & Wedding Costs
Legal Requirements States & Union Territories

Fact File

  • Size: 3.29 million km²
  • Population: Approximately 1.24 billion people
  • Capital City: New Delhi
  • Currency: Indian rupee (INR)
  • Languages Spoken: Hindi and English as the official languages, with Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, and Urdu accounting for other commonly spoken languages.
  • Main Religions: Hinduism (81%), Islam (13%), Sikhism (2%)
  • Major Holidays:  

The three national public holidays of India are:

    • Republic Day - January 26
    • Independence Day - August 15
    • Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday - October 2

Regional holidays include:

    • New Year's Day - January 1
    • Lohri - January 13
    • Makar Sankranti - January 14
    • Vasant Panchami - February (varies each year)
    • Maha Shivaratri - February (varies each year)
    • Holi - - March (varies each year)
    • Gudi Padwa - March (varies each year)
    • Ugadi - March (varies each year)
    • Rama Navami - April (varies each year)
    • Vaisakhi - April (varies each year)
    • Buddha Purnima - May (varies each year)
    • Raksha Bandhan - August (varies each year)
    • Ganesh Chaturthi - August (varies each year)
    • Vijayadashami - October (varies each year)
    • Karva Chauth - October (varies each year)
    • Naraka Chauturdashi - October (varies each year)
    • Bhai Dooj - October (varies each year)

Highlights

India's many festivals and holidays vary by region, so be sure to check accordingly. The sights of Hindu festivals such as Diwali and Holi should be an enlightening experience for anyone. Historical attractions such as the Taj Mahal are a must. Other highlights include dozens of scenic regions such as the Kashmir Valley, often described as a slice of heaven on earth.

Anyone looking for more of a typical retreat might want to head over to one of India's many luring beaches, such as the renowned Goa Beach. Another romantic alternative in India is renting a houseboat in the serene state of Kerala. Also, the desert-like landscape of west India has an aesthetic of its own, and trekking through the desolate Thar Desert by camel is a fantastic option.

Urban India is magnificent in its own right and must be mentioned. The adventurous can travel by rickshaw through the winding streets of the city and explore the exotic markets. India's Jain temples are a sight to behold and are a major highlight of any trip to India. Also, India's sheer beauty is accessible by many train routes such as the Kashmir Railway, which offers excellent service.

Weather and Climate

 India's climate and weather is extremely varied throughout its diverse land.  India is a warm country and has an annual average climate of about 24.2° C (75.6° F). April is generally the hottest month for the northern regions of India. The southern regions reach their peak temperatures around May. The average temperature in summer is around 95° F (35° C).

India has two monsoon seasons; India's northeast monsoon is typically from November to December, while the southwest monsoon is early May or June. After the monsoon, the rainy season begins for the northeast regions. January and December is usually India's coldest period. As a rule of thumb, further south begins to cool down but is more humid. In the winter, India's average temperature is about 55° F (12.8° C). Snow is not uncommon in the north and locations near the Himalayas.

Culture and Etiquette

Indians commonly greet each other by grasping their own hands and slightly bowing. "Namaste" usually accompanies the greeting. While it's the norm for two men or women to shake hands in a western fashion, it is not appropriate for a man and woman to do so in Indian culture. Also note that in India, waving the hand generally means no.

Dining etiquette in India is quite different from western norms. It's perfectly acceptable, and usually the norm, to use your index and middle fingers as utensils. Hands should be washed before and after dining, and only the right hand should be used. It's considered impure to touch someone else's food, and sometimes men and women dine separately. Typically when dining out, a 5-10% tip is given if you have received good service.

Attire should be researched for the location of travel. Especially at religious temples and centers, dress customs are enforced. For example, shoes are not usually worn in temples. Too much exposure of the skin is generally advised against for women.

Food and Drink

Indian cuisine is an amazing option for the food conscious. About 40% of the population is vegetarian. Other religious backgrounds also have dietary specifications, such as Hindus who don’t eat beef as they see cows as the source of food and symbol of life. As such, Indians will be very accommodating to dietary needs if specified.

As a general rule, breads are the staple of northern India and rice is more common in southern India. Indian breads are usually either cooked in the tandoor oven, such as naan, or fried like dosa. Typically these staples are served with thali, which are regional but served all over India. Thali consist of many small dishes such as vegetables, dal, yoghurt, pickles and chutneys.

Indian cuisine is characteristic of its spices. Cumin, turmeric, ginger, red chili, and cardamom are a few of the plethora of spices used. Curries are also very common all over India. They typically vary by region, but some common ones include vindaloo, madras, and rogan josh. They usually incorporate local ingredients, an abundance of vegetables, and sometimes meats. Paneer, an Indian cheese, is a good addition to curries such as palak paneer as well. Indian curries are typically spicier than its overseas counterparts. As such, sides of tomato, cucumber, and carrots are sometimes served for their cooling properties. Indian sweets are unique in themselves and such deserts as Jalebi and Laddu are frequently offered by street venders.

India is a tea drinking country, and tea is a huge part of Indian culture. It's typically served twice or more per day. Chai is the Indian word for tea, not to be confused for masala chai which is spiced black tea with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and milk. A common Indian beverage to cool down in the heat is the lassi. It is a thick mixture of yoghurt, water, and spices which is served either sweet or salted. Thandai is another dairy based beverage which is cooling and made of milk, almonds, saffron, cardamom, and seeds. Kaapi, or filter coffee, is a coffee beverage which sometimes incorporates chicory. Boiled milk and sugar are added to taste.

Money and Wedding Costs

The Indian rupee (INR) is the accepted currency of India. Indian rupee banknotes come in  ₹5,  ₹10,  ₹20,  ₹50,  ₹100,  ₹500, and  ₹1000.  50 paise coins, which are the equivalent of about a half of an Indian rupee, are also accepted.

Cash or checks will probably be needed in smaller regions of India. ATM's are usually available 24 hours a day in larger towns and cities. MasterCard and Visa are usually accepted throughout the country, but exceptions apply.

The average cost spent per guest on a wedding in India is about $166.5 USD. Thus the prospective cost of your destination wedding is largely influenced by how many guests you expect, as well as the location and venue. A small wedding at a budget or communal venue can run around $2,000 USD, but a luxurious venue with lots of guests and amenities will be upwards of $20,000 USD.

Legal Requirements for Marrying in India

Warning The following notes are not comprehensive and are intended as a guide only. Before planning your wedding in India we strongly advise you to contact the Indian embassy in your home country or your country's embassy in India to obtain up-to-date legal requirements.

Your requirements to legally marry will vary by region. For instance, in Goa there is a longer waiting period after an intent to marry is submitted. If you choose to marry in a religious ceremony, requirements will also vary. Under the Special Marriage Act of 1954, specific conditions apply. Please note that in India the groom must be at least 21 years of age, and the bride at least 18 years old.

The general guidelines for a civil marriage in India consist of the following:

  • Reside in the region for a 30 days residence. Your residence should not exceed 90 days for this process.
  • Once this is complete, you may submit an intention to marry at the local registration office. Bring copies of your birth certificates and passports, which will be required.
  • Documentation displaying your eligibility for marriage is required. Anyone divorced or widowed will need supplementary documentation.
  • After these documents are submitted, your civil ceremony may take place in 30 days.

States and Union Territories of India

India is comprised of 28 states and 7 union territories. Each of these regions is culturally unique and offers something new and exciting. Your perfect destination wedding location is waiting to be discovered.

Find out more about the States and Union Territories of India or browse our Indian Wedding Directory to start planning your dream wedding.